There’s no sense in having a disaster recovery plan if it isn’t tested regularly – otherwise how will you know if your staff is on top of procedures, or if your procedures and technology need to be updated?
But Neal Luhman of SunGuard, a supplier of disaster recovery software, warns in a blog that the human factor may tilt the results of a test.
Unfortunately, staffers sometime (often?) cheat a little during a DR test for a variety of reasons: to make themselves look better, to make the test go faster, because they think they have better things to do.
Luhman lists four ways IT departments can subvert the intent of the test. Here’s one: Knowing in advance a test is coming they migrate those serves ahead of time from physical to virtual machines. Then during the test they restore the VMs. That can cut hours off the recovery time.
Here’s another: If something goes bad during the test, a staffer calls someone outside the organization for help on solving the issue. If the DR process is fine that shouldn’t happen.
The problem with cutting corners, of course, is when a sudden crisis occurs – and its always sudden – the organization can be caught off guard.
However, Luhman also argues that a little bit of cheating may not be bad – as long as IT managers understand what’s going on and take away lessons.
“I would say that cheating once is okay,’ he writes. “Cheating every time – well, that just goes to show that you really haven’t learned anything.”